One of the most central and ancient practices of Christian prayer is lectio divina, literally, divine reading. In lectio divina, we begin by reading a few verses of the Bible. We read unhurriedly so that we can listen for the message God has for us there.
1. Read the scripture slowly. Watch for a key phrase or word that jumps out at you or promises to have special meaning for you. It is better to dwell profoundly on one word or phrase than to skim the surface of several chapters.
2. Reflect on a word or phrase. Let the special word or phrase that you discovered in the first phase sink into your heart. Bring mind, will, and emotions to the task.
3. Respond to what you have read. Form a prayer that expresses your response to the idea, then “pray it back to God.” What you have read is woven through what you tell God.
4. Rest in God’s word. Let the text soak into your deepest being, savoring an encounter with God and truth. When ready, move toward the moment in which you ask God to show you how to live out what you have experienced.
Source: Adapted from “Praying the Scriptures” by Marjorie Thompson in The Meeting God Bible, pp. xv ff. © 1999, 2008 by Upper Room Books. Used by permission. Learn more about or purchase The Meeting God Bible.
Photo by Beth A. Richardson. This is a photo of Calypso Cascades taken on a September hike up to Ouzel Falls in the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.